U.S. regulators have approved the first digital pill with an embedded sensor to track if patients are taking their medication properly, marking a significant step forward in the convergence of healthcare and technology.
The technology, developed over 10 years by Silicon Valley-based Proteus Digital Health, will be incorporated into an existing antipsychotic drug, Abilify, made by Japanese drugmaker Otsuka Pharmaceutical.
How it works?
Once swallowed, the chip mixes with stomach acids and sends a heartbeat-like signal to an adhesive patch worn on a patient’s torso.
The patch records the dosage and time of ingestion and relays this to a smartphone app for patients to monitor and share with doctors and caretakers. The chip ultimately passes through the digestive tract normally.
Who can be user of these pills?
The invention is intended for patients with mental illnesses who don’t always take their medication or may be forgetful, jeopardizing the success of their treatment.
Digital drugs may also solve a couple of problems facing pharmaceutical companies and insurers: lower drug sales because of missed doses and higher medical costs treating patients whose conditions worsen.
Ingestible devices, such as capsules that take pictures inside the body, have been around for years.
Its approval could pave the way for similar innovations.
Software development and its application to medical devices, It is also inviting entrepreneurs to help it shape new guidelines.